Tips for Parents
We know dropping your child off at college is sometimes difficult, but we have some tips for you to make the experience a pleasant one.
- If possible, plan a campus visit, e.g., a sporting event, a weekend, or a day at Upstate with your student. Take your student and his or her friends to lunch, dinner or for an outing. You will not believe how many friends your child has when a free meal is involved, especially at the end of the semester when money is low. If you include friends, you are a welcomed guest just about any time.
- Phone, email, text or connect on social media with your student, especially in the beginning of the year. Keep in mind that your college student may also be thrilled to receive an article of clothing once in a while, or something silly/sentimental.
- During the semester, send a beloved food item. If your student comes home on the weekends, send the leftovers back to campus.
- Purchase a gift certificate from a grocery store or your student’s favorite store. Your student can then spend the certificate on food items, etc., and you know the money will go for what it was intended.
- For holidays, send something appropriate, like plastic pumpkins filled with Halloween candy, holiday baskets, etc. Students love traditions whether they are at home or away at college, and it’s good to send enough to share.
- Discuss financial management with your son or daughter before he or she begins at USC Upstate. It is strongly recommended students either open a local bank account or use a bank near home. You may also consider educating your student on the advantages and disadvantages of credit cards as they will have plenty of opportunities to apply. Keep in mind that college students are rarely denied.
- Encourage your student to balance his or her checkbook before leaving USC Upstate for breaks. This is a common problem because students are not at school to keep up with their mail.
- Have your student create a monthly budget instead of a semester budget for the first year. But encourage them to be somewhat flexible the first semester as it is difficult to anticipate expenses.
- If you have not begun giving your student added responsibilities at home during his or her high school senior year (budgeting money, washing and ironing, extending curfews, managing time, etc.), do it now.
- Remember, parental guidance does not mean trying to control your student’s decisions or actions from home. Keeping criticisms to a minimum will keep the lines of communication open.
- Encourage your student to foster a good rapport with his or her academic adviser and to develop a network of peers, administrators, faculty and staff to count on for advice and guidance.
- Be aware of any stipulations established by your health insurance provider. Most require the student to be full-time in order to receive benefits. Also, make sure your carrier will cover your student out-of-state.
- Know how to find contact info of local businesses and agencies that are most important to you.
- Make sure your student keeps the Registrar’s Office informed of address changes for both local addresses and mailing addresses.
- If your student begins to get into academic trouble, refer him/her to his adviser early on. Don’t wait until he/she is on probation.
- Students who get involved on campus are prone to greater academic success than students who leave campus after class. USC Upstate has more than 80 clubs and organizations active on campus. Encourage your student to explore what’s available.
- Don’t be upset if you don’t hear from your son or daughter the first week of college. Instead, be pleased he or she is fitting in, having a good time and keeping busy.
- Don’t attempt to rush in and “save the day” for your son or daughter. Now is the time to trust that your years of influence will make a difference. The reality is, the student is now on his or her own, so let go. Be concerned, of course, but let him/her work things out.
- Support without always agreeing. Validate your student’s feelings and perceptions, but don’t assume it’s the whole story.
- Most of all, keep a sense of humor — no matter what you see or hear.